I’ve had to get this down on paper, or laptop screen, whilst the adrenalin is still flowing…
I’ve just seen a psychologist after decades of psychiatric treatment without, to all intents and purposes, ever really seeing a psychologist.
I take meds for my clinical depression, anxiety, panic attacks and OCD. If I stop my meds, I’m a wreck. I’ve always felt that, for me, seeing a psychologist would be a waste of time, that because my condition is clinical, talking about it ain’t going to shift it. After all, I thought, just as one can’t talk away diabetes or asthma, one can’t talk away clinical depression.
However, I came to the realisation that I’ve been hiding. That the psychiatrists and meds, whilst a critical piece in the jigsaw of the management of my mental illness/conditions, they are just that, one piece. Or, to put it another way, it dawned on me that my psychiatrist and the meds are a rug and that all I’ve been doing is sweeping the mess, my mess, my clutter, my ‘issues’, under the rug but that I need a psychologist to really, really clean the room, to really clear my head, to free me.
I have also, over the years, been avoiding the hard work that I need to do to help free myself. The clutter is under the rug but it is still there, it still exists. I have buried so much clutter for so many years that the mere thought of cleaning the room is almost too daunting to contemplate. But clean the room, I must. I have to be brutally honest with myself, I have to dig deep, very deep, I need to exhume the buried clutter, in which there are rats gnawing at me 24/7. I need to exorcise my demons. Can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. I’ll have to break myself to build myself back up again.
I left the session with the psychologist feeling very emotional (me feeling emotional but I dare say that that she need to have a coffee and chill for a few minutes after I left!). I feel like I’ve taken a massive step, a real step, I feel a tangible sense of liberation, of freedom.
I believe that “a long and winding road will lead to my door” (thanks, John and Paul!). I told my psychologist that I believe that it’ll be worth the hard work, work that will tug at my heartstrings, work that will, at times, break me, I believe that even if it takes decades to fully free me, if I only experience for one day a sense of unification with myself, if I finally get to meet myself, if I live just one day during which I am not a stranger to myself, if I live just one day in which my mind, body, heart and soul are in sync, just one day in which I live a truly authentic life, just one day in which I am at peace, experience true joy and peace of mind – not transient happiness but true joy – that will justify all the work involved.
I feel that I took a major step today, a major step towards, if not recovery, towards the day in which I will laud it over my depression, the day in which I shall be in control, the day in which I shall no longer be controlled by my mental/clinical/psychiatric/psychological conditions.
A huge sense of relief has, literally, just washed over me…
And, lest anyone thinks that this exercise is self-indulgent, even narcissistic, selfish, I must point out that, IMHO, this process of ‘self-care’ is NOT self-indulgent, it is the right, the responsible, the caring and kind, the empathetic and compassionate, thing to do. Not enough thought is given to the families and loved ones of people who have and suffer with depression. The families also suffer. My wife and children go through hell when I sink into a dark place, when I’m going through a major depression episode, when the ‘black dog, is mauling me. I have a responsibility, a duty, as a husband, a father, a son and as a brother, to take care of myself. When I sink, they go down with me. This process, my addressing my ‘issues’, it is anything but selfish!